Perfume Directory

Ténéré (1988)
by Paco Rabanne


Ténéré information

Year of Launch1988
Average Rating
(based on 120 votes)

People and companies

HousePaco Rabanne
PerfumerPierre Wargnye
PackagingAndré Ricard
Parent CompanyPuig Beauty & Fashion Group > Puig Prestige Beauty Brands

About Ténéré

Ténéré was launched in the summer of 1988, and is named after an African desert. This floral-spicy fragrance is meant to conjure up the image of adventure and creativity.

Reviews of Ténéré

when i had my 1st collection years ago I bought this when it was on the shelves and it became a staple in my , years later , when I started my latest collection Tenere was one of the 1st fragrances from the old days that I tracked down and me , the opening blast of flowery citrus just blows me away...being a lover of animalics I love the animal effect that the honey brings...the scent is fresh, yet nice and thick...semi - powerhouse...after taking you for a spin through various , mostly flower , changes it settles down into a very tasty wood...will probably always have some of this on all time favorite for me...double thumbs up...
27th February, 2019
A weak, but respectful, thumbs up for Ténéré.

During the 2000's, I was in such a flurry of collecting all kinds of men's colognes, contemporary or not, where just the slightest of interest at local mall kiosks in an uncommon / unusual / rare bottle was enough for me to get it. Ténéré was one of these, which I was drawn to because
of its rarity from a fairly popular mark. How it smelled was only of marginal importance (now THAT's a true collector's mindset, isn't it!!). I ended up getting other rarities from Jacomo, Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Fred Hayman, Giorgio Beverly Hills, Lancetti, Trussardi, Byblos, Max Deville, etc. etc. just because.

Anyhow, I gave this one a real test-drive to see how it actually would work out. Ténéré must have been an interesting phenomena in its time (1988), which I was too young to remember seeing among the giants that stole the spotlight, like Polo, Fahrenheit, Perry Ellis for Men, Kouros, et. al. (even Paco Rabanne's own pour Homme).

Ténéré is a fresh aromatic chypre near-powerhouse, closely related to the other loud and proud scents of that era but toned down several notches. It has the requisite citrus blast in the intro along with some lavender, cassia, and rosemary entered in. Then in typical powerhouse fashion, a handful of spices and flowers make their way onto the stage, though not in an altogether cloying way here (it's in this stage that a lot of the 70's / 80's / 90's beast colognes tend to turn me off today). The foundation is a pleasant leathery-musk-amber, a drydown that I appreciate.

Ténéré by Paco Rabanne is nice, and I can see myself wearing it around the house or on quick errands outside the house. It is a bit more floral than I can overlook at times, though there are plenty of "manly man" fragrance notes swimming in the potion to keep me intersted.

If you happen to come across Ténéré, it's not pretentious and cheap-feeling like some outings were back then. It has a solidly masculine aura to it, but in a time-machine sort of way.
23rd August, 2018
Ténéré is a rather unspoken-of entry into the Paco Rabanne men's fragrance line. Seems most things released after Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (1973) and before Paco Rabanne One Million (2008) were unnoticed by all but the faithful, everything made by the house lived in the shadows of the debut masculine and it's decade-defining smell, but Ténéré was particularly forgotten about even more so outside of collectors. For starters, it was part of a brief unsuccessful "masculine floral fougère" phase which was a louder revival of an old Victorian style begun with Zino Davidoff (1986), the ultra-loud Lapidus Pour Homme (1987), Salvadore Dali Pour Homme (1987) and ending with Givenchy Insense (1993). These were likely to be the next leap in male fragrance style, away from the dark bergamot/oakmoss-fueled powerhouses that littered the first half of the decade. There was just one tiny problem: aquatics and pared-down "fresh fougères" happened around the same time, and their clean-slate ideology won out over the dense, lush, flamboyant, colorful, but sometimes stifling releases from this genre. Along with Bogart Furyo (1988) and Balenciaga Pour Homme (1990), Ténéré fell by the wayside faster against the aquatics than the betamax tape did when it competed against the inferior but cheaper and more proliferate VHS format. Lapidus was the only long-term survivor here, and I feel that has to do with it's similarities to the macho stalwart Kouros (1981) more so than anything else. Ténéré was to be the next step of this evolution, but pulled further away from what men expected in a fragrance at the time without taking a large enough stride into memorable territory.

Ténéré shares Lapidus' extremely dandy opening, married with stiffly raunchy animalics, but swaps out the notorious pineapple note of Lapidus for cassia, rosemary and grapefruit. Otherwise, the top notes are identical: lemon, bergamot, basil, bitter artemisia, and lavender. It's a similar potpourri drydown as well, but veers dangerously close to the smell of the powder you shake on carpets and vacuum to remove the smell of dog; now that I've mentioned it, you won't be able to undo the association. Carnation, jasmine, muguet, rose, and iris are teamed with tarragon, cinnamon, anise, and a nice honey note that also gives this a nod to Kouros as well, but not like Lapidus. Caswell-Massey Jockey Club (1840) is recalled in the middle because of the iris, but it's brief. Puig Perfumer Rosendo Mateu also worked on Sybaris (1988) the same year as Ténérè, and you can see the musky connection in their drydown. Sybaris is definitely more in the oriental style, but the common thread especially in the choice of civet as the animalic is there. Peter Wargnye (perfumer behind 1982's Drakkar Noir) by far did the most work here, shaping Ténéré into a monster mash of animalic strength and floral delicately to compete with its doomed peers. The loaded base comes in with amber, patchouli, musk, leather, and cedar alongside that civet. The final verdict is this dynamic of Victorian floral and 80's sex juice makes Ténéré more of an acquired taste than it's siblings, while the less-discerning nose might just call this redundant besides Kouros or Lapidus (much like Sybaris), at first glance.

Ténéré, like many of it's contemporaries, was niche at a time before the market for it was known to exist. Ténéré can be seen as part of a parallel anachronistic progression away from the powerhouse style alongside the futuristic, lighter, simpler, and more synthetic fare that ultimately won the hearts of everyone in the following decade, becoming a neanderthal among cro-mags so to speak, and thus dying out. Paco got the swing of things with XS Pour Homme (1993), but there is a mysterious lost beauty with Ténéré that today will run you over $100 a bottle to find, whether you're buying surviving stock of this or something newer from a niche house. The niche stuff won't always have the animalics, which is how this stands out as still being clearly 80's, but anyone liking a bit of sweaty skin with their roses and fruit blossoms will find this a doozy of a strip tease on skin. Like most things in this vein, Ténérè is hopelessly romantic and unashamedly virile in the finish, so don't wear to work unless you own the business. Good for spring early fall, Ténéré will project beautifully for hours on skin and shirt. The African desert from which this scent takes it's name is equally beautiful, and outside that slight reminder of carpet deodorizer, I find this a solid effort, but sadly obscure for a reason.
29th March, 2018 (last edited: 02nd December, 2018)
Teneré is one of the several examples of scents from the '80s which could be easily be bottled, re-packaged, sold by niche brands and become instant cults. A masculine chypre impressively ahead of its time, an irresistible romantic and exotic bouquet of humid flowers with a heart of dark rose (Lyric Man anyone?), a touch of warm honey which persists all along the drydown, perfectly mixed in a beautiful blend, a bit herbal and a bit animalic, with a stout base of woods (sandalwood, mostly) and spices, cumin above all, discreet but detectable. Aldehydes to "reinforce" and give the scent a bold bone-structure, as for many masculine scents of that era. On the drydown it finally shows quite a twist of direction: more woods and tobacco, the personality becomes less romantic, more austerely rooty and earthy, still with a warm pollen note. Overall Teneré conveys a totally unique and captivating mood, a luscious elegance halfway dandy and exotic, with a genius and harmonic effortless blend of spicy-herbaceous notes which bring a desert breeze into the more Westernised, aristocratic floral bouquet. Utterly elegant, modern, sensual, rich in unusual notes. Worth a try.

20th July, 2014
Genre: Floral

Ténéré was one of those odd birds: a green floral scent marketed to men. Like the Carolina parakeet and the passenger pigeon, Ténéré is long extinct. For a sense of just how fragile such a species is, consider that even in the more forgiving niche fragrance environment Ténéré’s close cousin Virgilio was discontinued. Under the commercial pressure of the mass market, Ténéré never had a chance.

In character, Ténéré stands somewhere between Virgilio and the reissued Givenchy Insensé. It’s darker, sweeter, and more overtly floral than the former, but more green and astringent than the latter. Ténéré starts out with an original and intoxicating accord of galbanum and bergamot before it settles into its bittersweet heart. Dry floral note, crisp herbs, and dusty aromatics are set against a honeyed background in a manner that’s at once ideally balanced and fraught with tension. The animalic honey and indolic jasmine components in the central accord add much appreciated warmth to what could otherwise have been an overly cold and aloof scent. Some may find these notes disturbingly “urinous” in combination, but to me they read as animal comfort.

The drydown, when it arrives, is sweet, spicy, and balsamic in a surprisingly oriental vein. This transformation is itself enough to make Ténéré interesting, but that it occurs within a scent of rare and idiosyncratic character makes Ténéré’s demise all the more regrettable.
05th July, 2014

I had this as a teenager when it first came out, and was entirely too young to appreciate it, or for it to work with my chemistry. I'm glad to have it again! To me this is similar to Balenciaga Pour Homme, but completely appropriate for the summer. Complex, fresh, herbal, honeyed and slightly sweet. It is a sexy summer romantic night scent. Sublime! Beware, do use sparingly as it is quite the 80's powerhouse.

21st July, 2013

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